In his column for Asharq Alawsat, Mshari Al-Zaydi notes that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQIP) is seeking to use sympathy toward women as a political lever. He says that a recent YouTube video by Ibrahim Al-Rubaish (a former Guantanamo detainee and now on Saudi Arabia’s ‘most wanted’ list) is seeking to use emotions to rally support for the group’s politics.

Al-Qaeda Mufti Sets Sights on Women
Mshari Al-Zaydi

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—In what could be perceived as a shift in tactics, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has appealed directly to women to exploit public sympathy for their Cause and incite others to carry out jihad.

In an interview posted on YouTube, senior Al-Qaeda leader, Ibrahim Al-Rubaish, called on the general public to join the protests calling for the release of some detainees. However Rubaish went further than this, asserting that Al-Qaeda must continue its armed confrontation, calling on any released detainees to continue the fight.

He said: “Their Cause should not end with their release from prison, they should send a message, they entered prison for the sake of their Cause, and they should leave defending, fighting for, and protecting this Cause.”

Rubaish, who is wanted on terrorism charges by the Saudi authorities, also called on these detainees to exploit the general public’s sympathy. He said: “The detainees should exploit the people’s sympathy for them and call them to carry out jihad” adding “they must become callers (to jihad).”

The Al-Qaeda commander was including female detainees in this category, making this a rare statement from Al-Qaeda addressing women.

This call came one day after Qassim police announced the arrest of a number of people who had taken part in an illegal demonstration calling for the release of security detainees.

Rubaish referred explicitly to female detainees held on security charges. During the interview, he asked: “What have these [detained] sisters done wrong? If we look at their cases, we find that their only guilt is that their husbands, or relatives, are mujahedeen, or that they support the mujahedeen.”


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